10 April 2017
Media Release - #2017032, 2017

Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority appointments

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, today announced the appointment of Mrs Catherine Walter AM as Chairman of the new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), for a four-year period.

Mrs Walter is a director of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payments Systems Board and a Director at Australian Foundation Investment Company. She previously served as a Director of Melbourne Business School and is highly experienced in board membership and management, having served on over 15 boards since 1993. These include the ASX, NAB and the Financial Reporting Council. She has also served as a Managing Partner at Clayton Utz. Ms Walter holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours, a Master of Business Administration and Master of Laws from Melbourne University.

The role of the Chairman is to maintain board cohesion and unite Directors with different experiences and backgrounds to achieve the common purpose of professionalising the financial advice sector.

The FASEA will be responsible for governing the conduct of professionals in the financial advice sector, by setting mandatory educational and training requirements, developing and setting an industry exam, and creating a Code of Ethics that all advisers will be required to adhere to.

The new requirements will commence on 1 January 2019. From this date, new advisers will be required to hold a relevant degree before they are eligible to commence a supervision year and to sit the exam. Existing advisers will have two years, until 1 January 2021, to pass the exam and five years, until 1 January 2024, to reach a standard equivalent to a degree. The Code of Ethics will commence on 1 January 2020, with all advisers being required to adhere to the code from that day forward.

The FASEA board will primarily be responsible for:

  1. ensuring the financial viability of the authority, and setting strategic objectives for the authority;
  2. approving the education standards for financial advisers, the exam and the model code of ethics; and
  3. appointing the CEO, and holding the CEO to account.

The Minister also announced the appointments of eight Directors to the FASEA board varying between two and three-year terms:

  • Ms Deborah Kent
  • Ms Carolyn Bond AO
  • Dr Mark Brimble
  • Mr Matthew Rowe
  • Ms Catriona Lowe
  • Dr Simon Longstaff AO
  • Mr Steve Somogyi
  • Mr Michael O’Neill

Other than the Chairman, the FASEA board will consist of three Directors with financial services experience, three Directors with consumer advocacy experience, an ethicist and an academic.


Biographies of board members

Catherine Walter AM Catherine Walter AM is the Deputy Chairman of Victorian Funds Management Corporation and a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Payment Systems Board.

She is also the Chair of the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, Trustee of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and a Director of the Australian Foundation Investment Company.

Matthew Rowe Matthew Rowe is the CEO and Managing Director of Countplus Limited.

He is a former Chair for the Financial Planning Association and former Managing Director of the financial planning business Hood Sweeney.

Deborah Kent Deborah Kent is the Managing Director and Founder of Integra Financial Services Pty Ltd. She is also a former President of the Association of Financial Advisers.
Stephen Somogyi Stephen Somogyi is a Director at Guild Group and UniSuper and an advisor at Monash University, Victoria University and University of Melbourne. He is also a former Executive Member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
Catriona Lowe Catriona Lowe is a Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Legal Practice Liability Committee (Vic) and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and a Co-Chair of the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee. She is also the former Chair of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia.
Carolyn Bond AO Carolyn Bond AO is a Director of the Legal Services Board (Victoria), Debt Repayment Service Board and Jan Pentland Foundation. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University and a former Co-CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre.
Michael O’Neill Michael O’Neil is the former CEO of National Seniors Australia. He is also a former CEO of the Australian Gold Council and AgForce Queensland.
Simon Longstaff AO Simon Longstaff AO is the Executive Director of the Ethics Centre. He also holds board positions with the Banking and Finance Oath, BHPBilliton Forum of Corporate Responsibility, BT Professional Standards Council, Westpac Stakeholder Council, IAG Ethics Committee and AUSTRADE Ethics Committee.
Mark Brimble Mark Brimble is a Professor (Finance) in the Griffith Business School at the Griffith University. He is also the Chair of the Financial Planning Education Council and a member of the Professional Planner Advisory Board and TEQSA Panel of Experts.